As the Mississippi House has undergone a historic shift, many legislators who used to lead the parade are now simply relegated to shout from the cheap seats.
Republicans found that out last week when Democrats loyal to their standard bearer, Attorney General Jim Hood, temporarily derailed a bill designed to allow state agencies to free themselves from being held hostage by the state Attorney General’s office over policy issues and political representation.
The “Sunshine Bill” will be reintroduced this week and it will pass with solid support. Given the fact that two outside counsel acting as Assistant Attorneys General (Balducci and Langston) pleaded guilty of judicial corruption in Hood’s most recent term, not many folks are going to “die in the ditch” for Hood politically in the House. As much as the new resistance of House Democrats like Bob Evans, Cecil Brown and Bobby Moak would like to be a fly in the ointment, they know that resistance on the “Sunshine Bill” will be just for political show.
New Joint Rules
Speaking of political show, a new joint rule that would require that individual floor amendments on appropriations be required to have offsetting revenue from another bill is about to be pushed by House leadership. HC 33 is coming to the floor and House Democrats don’t like it one bit.
This bill is actually just a continuation of a standing Appropriations Committee rule. It’s designed to keep members from casting “show” votes (which usually happen via amendment votes) and puts people in opposition to bills/appropriations on the floor to not just lob partisan bombs. By law, Mississippi has to operate under a balanced budget, and this empowers those who want to increase funding in one area to provide and agree in real time to decreases in another.
Expect a big fight on this one with likely one of the first party line test votes.
If there’s one thing that the House leadership team has learned these past two weeks, it is that jilted Democrats aren’t going to like them any less. When you have the votes, call the question, make the vote and move on. Those that don’t like you are going to scream no matter what. The voters of Mississippi have put the ball in the hands of the majority to get legislation like Sunshine, Charter Schools and Redistricting done. It’s time to start throwing some touchdowns.